Chickens active in the dark?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by corgiscatsandchickens, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. corgiscatsandchickens

    corgiscatsandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2011
    Trying to figure out if our chickens are insane or what. [​IMG]

    Thier coop and run is basically the chicken version of Fort Knox, so we open the door for them in the early morning before dawn and close the door on them at dusk, sometimes well after dark. No light in the coop except occasionally a red heat lamp on the waterer to keep it from freezing when we have cold snaps. No really bright street lights, either, no lights from the house.

    Why in the world are the girls still hanging outside in the dark? We got home late a few nights ago (it was completely dark at the time) and stepped out of the car and heard clucking! A couple of girls in the run, contemplating going to bed! Last night it had been dark for about an hour and we went out to close the door and had to move two chickens, Maggie and Cecilia. [​IMG] Maggie was standing in the doorway stargazing and Cecilia was sitting beside her *on the FLOOR* like she thought she was a silkie or something half asleep! (BTW, they're all barred rocks)

    They like thier coop. On windy days they often go in for twenty or thirty minutes at a time. Their food and water is inside the coop. Sometimes they go in for no apparent reason other than a change in scenery. I don't think they're avoiding the coop. And for the record, usually if we go into the coop after dark, most if not all of them will take that opportunity to hop off the roosts and grab a late night snack and drink. We can turn out the flashlight and they still snack in the dark until we leave. They get back up onto the roosts just fine--we checked. And no, they're not afraid of anything when we're not there. Often we watch them from an upstairs window playing or taking very leisurely dustbaths.

    Are my chickens just nuts? [​IMG]
  2. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Are they young? My younger ones (Silkies & Lavender Orpingtons) like to hang around the doorway - I don't think they have the natural survival instinct my older ones do that makes them afraid enough to want to get up high at dark (White Leghorns, Ancona & mystery chickens).

    I have an auto door that closes after the sun sets. I still check out there to make sure everyone got inside. So far everyone has made it in before the 5:30pm closing. When the sun set gets later I have to adjust the closing time to later so they can figure out when to get in before getting locked out.

    Other possiblities: Is there someone going in their coop at night - a mouse or snake? Are there mites in there coming out at night?
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I too notice that my young ones are much more active in/around the coop than my older gals. If I go in and turn the people light in (after dark), the youngins' will sometimes hop down to see what's going on, but the older ladies stay put (like they know chickens [​IMG]). So maybe that's what's going on with yours??? [​IMG]

    Oh...and I wanted to add that, to me, barred rocks are among the most inquistive breeds of chickens out there, so they may just be nosy and quirky that
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  4. corgiscatsandchickens

    corgiscatsandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2011
    Coop is raised 2 1/2 feet from the ground, with an old house steel door that we humans use to get in. Only a stepstool outside the door. A ramp from the lot to the coop, not impossible for a snake, but a lot of work. Been too cold here lately for snakes anyway. A squirrel would have to come through the lot fencing, then come up the ramp and into the coop, and frankly, I don't see my roo and certainly not the hens allowing that! No unusual loss of food or eggs due to squirrles, either.

    I check them regularly for mites, and there are none to be seen nor do they exhibit symptoms of mites. [​IMG]

    They're young-ish. Hatched in March.

    The general feeling I'm starting to get is that Barred Rocks are nuts, and these are a little nuttier than most! [​IMG]

    Figures. We raised them. Crazy must be contagious.

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